JAMNOLA™, New Orleans’ first experiential pop-up is set to open Saturday.
Twenty-plus New Orleans artists are crafting a Crescent City-themed cultural experience in the Marigny to evoke joy through NOLA art and music.
Blinged-out umbrellas, giant crawfish, feather chandeliers, a sequined gator, and a virtual costume closet – these are just a few of the quirky, unexpected, interactive exhibits guests of all ages will soon be able to explore at JAMNOLA™ in a topsy-turvy stroll through the cultural gems that make the city so special.
At 2832 Royal St., JAMNOLA is the 5,400-square-foot passion project of two Bywater residents, Jonny Liss and Chad Smith, in creative partnership with Where Y’Art, a New Orleans-based artist collective that served as curator, artistic director and creative partner of the experience.
Local legend George Porter Jr. curated the music.
JAMNOLA, an acronym for Joy-Art-Music New Orleans, features 12 rooms for guests to explore. Most rooms feature photo opportunities, the founders said. In 2020, the artists began conceptualizing ideas for the project, working collaboratively alongside strategic advisers to design the rooms and experiences – all of which were reviewed and reimagined to meet new health and safety requirements, the founders said.
JAMNOLA was also diligent in inviting local culture experts to provide input during the final stages of development, they said.
Liss and Smith said a percentage of JAMNOLA’s proceeds will be donated to New Orleans charity partners Trombone Shorty Foundation and Feed the Second Line.
“Since I first stepped foot in New Orleans 28 years ago, I knew this city was special,” Liss said. “I wanted to create a tribute to the city’s people and invest in the culture. Teaming with Where Y’Art is what made it come together. JAMNOLA is a love letter to New Orleans – her joy, her beauty and grit, her resilience. We can’t wait to share it with tourists and especially locals. The experience is really indescribable.”
“The lead artists we selected – their out-of-the-box thinking and innovation – will absolutely blow you away. They’ve been working tirelessly, under a tight deadline to imagine each space into an experience that will leave you… well, I’ll let you come and find out,” said Catherine Todd, Where Y’Art’s co-founder and creative director.
JAMNOLA’s Experiential Rooms, lead artists and contributors include:
Who Dot? by photographer Erika Goldring with Flavor Paper by Jon Sherman
George Porter Jr. portrait by Carl Joe Williams
Feather Forest by Julianne Lagniappe
“All on a Mardi Gras Day (2003)” video immersion honoring the memory of documentary filmmaker Royce Osborn edited by Alexander Glustrom, music by 79rs Gang, Lakou Mizik and Cumbancha with portrait by Jessica Strahan
What’s Your Jam? with murals from Ceaux, Noah Church, Josh Hailey and Jeremy Paten with culinary contributor Dr. Nicole Caridad Ralston of Eaten Path Nola
The Bead Goes On by Chad Smith with custom Flavor Paper by Jon Sherman
Bling Bayou by Pompadour Productions: Wyoming Quinn and F. Scott Greenfield
Spirit Trees by the Milagros Collective with cultural contributor Terri Simon
Joy of Crawfish by Robin Durand with custom Flavor Paper by Jon Sherman
Yeah You Write installation by Hugo Gyrl
Costume Closet curated by Shel Roumillat with custom Flavor Paper by Jon Sherman and photography by Erika Goldring
Umbrella Strut by Kari Lee with photography by Henry York with cultural contributor Kim Vaz-Deville
Sound Garden featuring Adinkrahene Sound Wall by Marcus Brown with sounds by Khari Allen Lee and “Do What Ya Wanna” Music Wall by Pompadour Productions: Wyoming Quinn and F. Scott Greenfield
Garden of Legends by artist, designer and sculptor Skye Erie with environmental fiber artist, Jacob Reptile
Go-Cup Portrait by Charles Hoffacker
JAMNOLA’s exhibits will adhere to and go beyond all local and state health and safety guidelines, the founders said. Admission will initially be limited to semi-private and private tours. The exhibits have been redesigned to limit contact without losing their original immersive and experiential moments.
JAMNOLA features a personalized microsite available to all guests providing access to photos, videos and a “Cultural Concierge” that curates content by local experts on everything from po-boy recommendations to outdoor adventures using proximity activation technology. JAMNOLA is also partnering with WWOZ Radio to provide guests with music guidance after the tour.
“We’re thrilled JAMNOLA is finally opening, especially after the difficult spring and summer we’ve had in the city due to the public health crisis. This is a very exciting and totally different kind of attraction,” said Stephen Perry, president & CEO of New Orleans & Co. “JAMNOLA is a first-of-its-kind, immersive experience that promises to satisfy the needs and interests of visitors to New Orleans and provides an opportunity to explore an art pop-up and celebrate New Orleans’ ageless unique music, art and culture.”
Tickets are $29 each and can be purchased online at JAMNOLA.com for tours starting Saturday with special discounts available to students, military and Orleans Parish residents on Mondays and Wednesdays. Starting Saturday, JAMNOLA’s hours of operation are Sunday-Monday and Wednesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; closed on Tuesdays.
This fantastical guided storyteller experience takes approximately 60 minutes to complete.